A heck of a ride.
19-9 (80-56 overall)
In July the Tigers went 18-8 and put themselves in the AL Central driver’s seat. In August they won 19 of 28 and put the rest of the competition out of its misery. They entered August on a winning streak and continued to roll for seven more games and ended it 8.5 games up in the division.
The Tigers led the league in offense in a big way, leading the second place A’s in wRC+ 124 to 116 (what’s wRC+?) and in Wins Above Replacement (what’s WAR?) 7.0 to 6.8 over the Red Sox. Cabrera posted an insane 212 wRC+ followed by Victor Martinez at 158. Pena, Infante, Jackson, Fielder, and Dirks all provided 125 wRC+ or higher. Hunter, Santiago, and Iglesias all added 99 wRC+ or better themselves. It was a domination across the board at the plate and no one with more than 60 PA had less than a 99 wRC+.
The Tigers pitching staff turned in the third best month by WAR (4.7) and continued to pace the league overall. Sanchez (1.3 WAR), Scherzer (1.2), and Fister (1.0) dominated and Porcello (0.6) and Verlander (0.5) did nice work at the back end considering. The bullpen did decent work, surprisingly in the face of a subpar stretch from Drew Smyly.
On the whole, it was a fantastic month for the team as they put the division to bed. They’ll need to use September to fine tune some things and get everyone to full strength, but it’s hard to imagine having a much better month than one in which they played at a 110 win pace. They’ll face the Red Sox for three, but other than that their best opponent is the mediocre Royals. After five months, the Tigers sit ready for October.
The Moment: Pretty difficult to choose, but we’ll go with Hunter’s walk off. Or Iglesias’ play. Or Cabrera homering off Salazar. Or off Rivera. Or off Rivera again. Or Avila’s homerun. Holy cow.